The third annual turkey joust will occur on Thursday, Nov. 28.
Across the nation, families are sharpening their knives and lances in preparation for the games. Exasperated mothers have still bought turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner even as the rest of their families struggle to find horses, plate armor, and ammunition for the big day.
John “The Destroyer” Campbell says the tradition was born out of necessity rather than anything else.
“Ya know, back in 2016, we just finally decided, rather than sitting around the table arguing about stupid stuff, we’ll just go outside and fight to see who’s right. It’s the natural way.”
Many families have arrived at the same conclusion in the years since, with some taking up old-fashioned ten-paces duels and some erecting large wrestling rings in their yard in the style of the World Wrestling Federation, complete with folding chairs and announcers tables.
Jack “Dead-Eye” Huckabee says that since his family has taken up dueling during Thanksgiving, they’ve gotten along a lot better during the holidays.
“It takes a lot of the frustration out of things,” says Huckabee, oiling his pistol.
“We’d spend the whole time arguing and someone always got mad and stormed out.
“Now we don’t have that so much.”
Last year, Huckabee had to drive his uncle Paul to the hospital after a shoulder injury resulting from a duel over which Godfather movie was the greatest.
“Yeah, I had to drive him down to the hospital,” said Huckabee. “But I didn’t until he admitted he was wrong. Make no mistake, I love uncle Paul, but it’s a lot easier to love him when he admits he’s wrong.”
When asked if it could, in fact, be Huckabee himself who was wrong, Huckabee stared at the ground, blinked rapidly, then had a seizure.
Michelle “Statistics are Cool” Delgaddio, a sociologist from the University of Tennessee, says that what society is seeing isn’t new.
Her own family doesn’t joust or duel, but they do have large-scale wrestling matches that, last Thanksgiving, left her severely concussed and believing she was a ballerina.
“It’s a return to an older way of doing things,” says Delgaddio. “There’s this idea that families need to be civil and sit down and enjoy each other’s company and that’s just not true. Throughout human history it’s been much more common for families to not be able to stand one another. That’s a lot more normal, I think.
“If fact, I bet if one went back to the very first Thanksgiving where all the pilgrims sat down with all the Native Americans, half of them probably couldn’t wait to just start shooting at each other. That’s what we’re seeing now with Thanksgiving, just a holiday returning to its roots.”
John Campbell admits it’s not the ideal way to deal with disagreements in the family, but says it works for now, and that’s important.
“Yeah, it’s not the best. My daughter lost her eye last year. Grandpa broke his hip when his horse bucked him. It’s not the greatest, but it works for now, and it’s kind of tradition at this point. We joust on Thursday and whoever isn’t in the hospital goes shopping on Black Friday.
“It’s just how we do things.”